Beautiful day, Joyous parenting, Cello adventures

Today was one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen here in a long time. The sky was very blue, the sunshine was bright and warm enough to feel even with a fairly cool temperature, and the colors of nature and structures were vivid and clear. I took the babies on our usual morning walk to go get the car, and then off to a store to buy a few organizational items, including hooks to install on the closet door in our coat room/office since we have considerably more than two coats per child to store. When we got back it would have been time to go to the twins’ swim lesson, but I had decided to prioritize my needs and set aside time for practicing instead. However, when our nanny arrived and said she was going to take them for an actual walk (as opposed to plopping them in the stroller), I gave into my desire to share that time with my twins, out in the sunshine.

It was one of those moments I am so glad I was present for. Joanna, still in the early days of walking, is delighted to do it. Emily is getting closer to running, and it was so great to be able to take that walk with our nanny, so that we could have one person with each twin. I had turned the corner with Emily, and so when we got halfway down that block I said, “Let’s go back and find your sister!” And she turned right around and headed back. Joanna saw her coming and stopped to wait for her, and I got a fantastic series of pictures in which they come together and hug.

Then Emily decided she wanted to go down our neighbor’s steep driveway. She started out on her tummy, but wound up walking down and up and down it again. Joanna scooted down on her butt, began her ascent with a regular crawl, but soon went back to scooting maneuver in which she pushed one leg in front of her (which seems much harder than just a regular crawl!) Being together magnified their joy, and they giggled almost non-stop. They stopped off at another neighbors’ house, where they enjoyed rattling their gate. Watching the yellow tassel on Emily’s hat whip back and forth as she got her body into the gate-rattle was hilarious.

After that, Emily decided she wanted Joanna’s blue hat, so she tackled her from behind, pulling her down onto her butt, and then pulling at her hat. We gave Emily’s discarded red hat to Joanna and asked her if she wanted to put it on. She did, and then Emily showed signs of changing her mind and trying to remove the red hat from Joanna’s head. We discouraged her, and then they happily went off adventuring again, in the swapped hats.

Finally, when the twins’ fingers were getting pretty cold we went in for lunch. I went to pick Hazel up, and then, full of yummy food and nourished by the love and delight of my daughters, I packed up and went off to work, where I put some effort into figuring out more of the arcana of one of the pieces on my plate.

After teaching was done I swung by my friend’s house to listen to the piece and talk about its gestures, mechanics, dynamics, and mysteries. That was very helpful, and I feel encouraged. I have babysitting all day tomorrow and am looking forward to making more progress on all the repertoire I have in front of me. “Ire” is wild and crazy, and I need to increase the drama of the gestures, and get comfortable with the quick changes of bow placement, from on or near the bridge to on the fingerboard, and everything in between. It’s a powerful, ominous, intense piece. The solo cello’s C string (the lowest one) is tuned down an octave, which produces the most incredible growling sound. The other modern piece seems positively sensible by contrast. The notes are all immediately playable (with some practice to make them better). Quite relaxing. The Beethoven I need to keep improving, and I need to get more familiar and proficient with the Britten, but that’s all entirely doable with some time and effort. Onward and upward.

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